Straight Talk

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Archive for the tag “SAHC”

Truth, Part XIV–And where is this pollution?

0311L_issueEdgewater50pLate in the game First Selectman Rand started talk about environmental issues at the old Fire House in Lakeville.  He spoke of costs that might be involved should housing be the chosen option for that site.  He even consulted with his good buddies at Fuss and O’Neill for support on this topic.

I requested these communications from the First Selectman and received this reply on February 15, 2012.

From: “Curtis Rand” <>
Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 9:00 AM
To: “Michael J Flint” <>; “Jim Dresser” <>; “bobby Riva”
<>; “Mark Lauretano” <>
Subject: Fwd: FireHouse and Additional Buidling

Hello Here is the email from Fuss re: former firehouse. Fuss did the original Phase 1, but these are invalid after some period of months, so it would need to be re-done. The 2 big issues are groundwater sampling in the event of conversion to residential, and removal of the tank (not mentioned in the Fuss email).

In my phone conversation with Fuss after their inspection of the building, I think they suggested that tank removal might add $15,000- $20,000 on to this estimate below.
The tank is registered with DEP, in good order and not leaking (it is a newer, walled tank), but because there was an earlier spill then Fuss would need to do the groundwater sampling to ensure that vapors had not penetrated the building. If there were any vapors evident, then a remediation plan would need to occur – this cost is an unknown and is not factored into the Fuss email below.
There are other concerns about conversion to residential, but these were not problematic to the 2 proposals to continue use of the building as a garage. In the case of Frank Gallogly, he was prepared to deal with all the environmental issues at his own cost.

Conveniently Mr. Rand creates some of his answers by attempting to recall phone conversations which occurred back in 2008.  Rather than producing documents, it is phrased as ‘I think’.  While I was requesting data, all I could hope to obtain was what Mr. Rand thinks someone said to him years ago.

Mr. Rand also mentions some ‘other concerns’, but never elaborates.  The other interesting mention is the registered oil tank, which while not mentioned by the environmental people, according to Mr. Rand it might have to be remediated due to a prior spill.

Attached was the email response of September 29, 2012 (just a few days before the SAHC made their uninformed decision).  Mr. Don Wilson responds to Mr. Rand based on phone conversations of earlier in the day, again something without documentation meaning that I have no idea what the questions were or how they might have been manipulated to obtain the correct answer.  How convenient!

Subject: FireHouse and Additional Buidling
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 15:56:32 -0400
From: Don Wilson <>
To: Curtis Rand

Per our conversations today, to further investigate the 9 and 9A Sharon Road Sites since there is proposed renovations to these buildings for possible residential occupancy, the following would be recommended with the following costs:
Update the 2008 Phase I ESA – $2,200
Complete a Phase II ESA – $ Cost range $8,000 to $12,000,
Biggest issue for investigation would be, since residential occupancy is proposed and there is a potential offsite upgradient VOC source that might cause vapor intrusion into the current buildings.

Thus, to make sure that this is not an issue, groundwater would have to be evaluated at the site. If the site is just sold for commercial use, there would be no real need to look at the offsite VOC issues.
Hazardous Building Material Surveys for Firehouse – $4,000 to $7,000
Additional Building -$2,000 to $3,000
Total costs range would be about $18,200 to $24,200
Hope this helps,
Fuss & O’Neill, Inc | 146 Hartford Road | Manchester, CT 06040
860.646.2469 x5224 | | cell: 860.933.3975 |

I decided to look at the 2008 Phase I ESA so that I could see for myself what it said.  I was curious about where the ‘up gradient’ VOC source might be located and was wondering how someone could have missed the oil clean up that occurred and resulted in the ‘registered tank’ being installed after remediation in 1992.  This occurred after reports of fuel oil in the brook, a definite problem.

While I could present a healthy number of documents on this subject (solid facts as opposed to some obscure memory), the distortions in these email can be clarified by reading the conclusions (p. 14 & 15) of the 2008 Phase I ESA which was done by Fuss and O’Neill.

8.1 Data Gaps
Standard Practice 1527 -OS requires the identification and evaluation of data gaps or data failures, which are defined as a lack of or inability to obtain information required by the practice despite good faith efforts by the environmental professional to gather such information. No significant data gaps were identified during the completion of this investigation.

8.2 Findings and Conclusions
Fuss & O’Neill, Inc. prepared this Phase I ESA report in general conformance with the scope and limitations of ASTM Practice E 1527-05. Any exceptions to, or deletions from, this practice are described in Appendix A of this report.

This assessment has revealed two RECs in connection with the subject site:
• Former UST: A 1 ,000-gallon heating oil UST was removed from the site in July 1992, and was found to have leaked. Soil was excavated subsequent to removal of the tank, and a new 550- or 1,000-gallon UST was installed. In a phone conversation with Mrs. Sheila Gleason at the CTDEP on May 13, 2008, she stated that an associate, Mr. Robert Robinson, was present the day the tank was removed and observed the collection of confirmatory soil samples taken from the tank grave. However, no analytical data was available to support that all contaminated soil was removed from the tank grave. The involvement of CTDEP staff in the UST removal indicates a low probability of significant residual petroleum being present in the former UST area, although the lack of analytical data leaves open the possibility that impacted soil remains in the UST area.

• Overfilled 275-AST: An oily residue was observed along the side of the 275-AST, with a small associated stain on the plywood floor beneath the tank, which the site contact attributed to a minor overfill. A crawl space is present beneath the floor, and the magnitude of the observed staining indicates a low potential for spilled oil to have
migrated through the floor and been released to soil underlying the crawlspace. A
definitive determination would requite gaining access to the crawlspace and/ or
collection of soil samples. Based on the extent of the staining to the plywood and the
release mechanism, it is likely that any impact to underlying soils would be minor and
limited to the top few inches of the soil immediately below the point of release.

Potential off-site concerns:
• Historical petroleum releases were identified on parcels adjacent to and inferred to be up gradient of the subject site. These releases appear to have impacted groundwater on the 6 Sharon Road parcel based on the results of test wells monitored periodically by the Aquarion Water Company.

It is extremely important to understand that the 2008 Phase I ESA was done for the three pieces of property that were owned by the Fire District.  9 and 9a Sharon Road are the Fire House and the White Building.  The other parcel, 6 Sharon Road, is Community Field.

The conclusions above indicate ‘oily residue’ in the White Building.

It also indicates the the up gradient releases (petroleum) have impacted Community Field.  You know … the place where our children play?

Truth … Something which seems to illude our Community Leaders when they are on their blind missions.


Truth, Part XIII–Planning and Zoning takes a vote

humpty_dumptyAll the King’s horses and all the King’s men … October 4 had arrived.  The SAHC had rendered it’s poorly studied, yet craftily manipulated conclusion about the Workforce Housing proposal so that Mr. Rand and Mr. Dresser could use that as part of their marketing plan to obtain the approval of the sale by P&Z.

The duo appeared before P&Z that evening to spew forth more of their twisted version of reality.

Mr. Rand, along with his comrade Mr. Dresser, came forth and seated themselves at the P&Z table.  Mr. Rand proceeded to market the sale proposal which he and others (along with a bit of assistance from the Town’s bank account) had crafted.  While his testimony was somewhat inaccurate, it was the version of reality they had come to believe, at least each time they said it.

This was followed by some clarification from Chairman Klemens:

Chairman, M. Klemens clarified that the task before the Commission is to ascertain whether or not the proposed purchase and use is compatible with Salisbury’s Plan of Conservation and Development, rather than to comment on the financial aspects of the offer.

Mr. Rand then made the ‘pity plea’ …

C. Rand noted that the property has been an open listing for a year. Other proposals have been discussed, but this offer is the first that has had sufficient merit to be put before a Town Meeting.

Although I was present in the room, it was Mr. Rand who presented information about the proposal I had created and presented numerous times.  I guess that was the best approach since I would probably have told the truth, which unfortunately did not synchronize with the story they had been creating.

Additional information about this option was provided by C. Rand. The Salisbury Housing Trust was approached but concluded that the firehouse project was not consistent with the mission and model of the Housing Trust. The Salisbury Housing Committee also considered the proposal but determined that it was not a feasible project for them at this time because they are already committed to building an additional six units of housing at Sarum Village. The Affordable Housing Committee investigated M. Flint’s proposal but concluded that the costs outweighed the benefits at this time.

Here again, Mr. Rand does not quite get it right, or at least not in the real world sense.  Email to both housing organizations would reveal that Mr. Rand cleverly presented the conversion idea in such a way as to get them to say NO, the result that he and his comrades desired.

Mr. Rand went on to spout about potential environmental costs which might be incurred if the Workforce Housing idea was pursued.  Later I would learn that he distorted that information too.

Finally the commissioners voiced their thoughts:

There was an extensive discussion. Points made included the following.
C. Rich ‐ It is not really in synch with the POCD plan to revitalize the village centers. I would rather see a more public use of the space.
J. Higgins – Choices concerning the firehouse were extensively investigated by the Advisory Committee at the time the building was transferred to the Town. The recommendation at that time was to sell the property to a private entity to help offset the costs of building the new firehouse. The Galloglys’ offer to purchase is certainly in accord with that recommendation. It is a reasonable offer, not in conflict with Salisbury’s POCD.
J. Swanson – The building is beautiful and simple and is on the national registry of historic properties. The Galloglys’ offer includes restoring the building adhering to historic registry guidelines.
D. Dwyer – This is a major structure of historic significance for the Town. Clearly there should be a public discussion about what to do with the building. Why hasn’t the Affordable Housing Coordinator been utilized to research the affordable housing option?

While some of the Commissioners spoke with knowledge, others had obviously bought into the company line.  Most notable was the complete lack of knowledge by alternate Commissioner Swanson.  She openly admitted that she had not seen the conversion plan and was not even vaguely familiar with it.  It is very comforting to know that this alternate Commissioner is periodically seated in a voting capacity to decide the fate of your property.

Vote without knowledge … maybe these words should grace the front of our Town Hall while the current administration remains in office.

And what is it we pay that Affordable Housing Coordinator to do?  If you find out, send me an email.

The Commission finally voted:

It was then moved by J. Higgins and seconded by C. Rich to approve the sale of the old firehouse as proposed by the Board of Selectmen as it is not in conflict with Salisbury’s Plan of Conservation and Development.
Roll Call Votes were as follows:

For – J. Higgins and M. Whalen

Against: D. Dwyer, C. Rich and M. Klemens

The motion failed.

(Read the full P&Z minutes from October 4, 2011)

With that, some folks hastily exited the room looking rather unhappy.  Soon after we would learn that the sale offer had been withdrawn.

The conversion proposal would fade into the darkness, hopefully never to be spoken of again.

Tomorrow, I will make some final observations and even revelations, before I put this story to bed.

To be continued …

Truth, Part XII–It starts to sound right if you say it enough

repeat-after-meMr. Rand knows that he will have no problem getting his ‘family’ at the SAHC to ‘do the right thing’, but by now he must be realizing that the Planning and Zoning folks might be more like the crazy aunt you should keep in the closet.  October was closing in and the envelope needed to be licked and sealed.

It became obvious that it was time for massive smoke, tons of mirrors, and a pinch of misspeak.

(I will make my comments inside of this email … Email in blue – my comments in black.)

Mr. Rand explains to all:

Subject: Re: Frank Gallogly offer
From: Curtis Rand <>
Date: Fri, 09 Sep 2011 13:11:43 -0400
CC: ‘Jon Higgins’ <>, ‘Judy Swanson’
<>, ‘Dan Dwyer’ <>,, ‘Martin Whalen’ <>, ‘Fred’
<>, ‘Allen Cockerline’ <>, ‘Michael'<>, Nancy Brusie <>, “Alice B. Yoakum”<>, “Donald K. Mayland” <>, Mat Kiefer<>, “William F. Willis” <>, Carol Dmytryshak<>, Tom Marrion<>, CHRISTOPHER DAKIN<>, Joe Cleaveland

Hi Dan   Indeed it is an alternative for the Town’s consideration . Last night we held a 2 hour hearing on both the Gallogly and Flint proposals. It was a posted meeting in the LJ, with physical copies on the firehouse (every door), and on the website. I estimate that about 60 people showed up for a discussion (official hearing) of each alternative.
While this is nice information, it doesn’t tell you anything about what people said at the meeting.

These are complex issues and the BaS was seeking opinions and facts from the townspeople and the proponents of the 2 proposals. In each proposal there are issues of codes,environmental conditions, residential vs commercial uses, town finances (as well as the financial goals of the several non-profit housing groups), architecture, historic registry requirements, open space, and many more.
All these complex issues, most of which are nothing more than pathetic smoke screens designed to eliminate the Workforce Housing proposal.

Given the zoning of the location and considering that affordable housing would get special zoning waivers under CT law since we fail to meet the 10% threshold, what are the zoning issues?

Code issues, as in building?  Hard to figure!

The environmental issue is a constant with any old building, however I will educate you later as to why this issue has been worked into the mix

Historic registry can have little impact even though it is hard to understand why this is an issue since both proposals were respectful of exterior preservation.

Open space?  Both proposals contained open space.

It just seems like Rand is making things up just to make it sound complicated.

No easy answers. As we mentioned last night, the BaS has received and rejected 2 other offers on the firehouse – we approved taking this to a Town Meeting because:
• it has no conditions, including environmental or mortgage
• it is highest offer received in more than 9 months of open listings with all local real estate firms
• it includes dedication of the green as open space
• it contemplates a restoration of the historic structures and putting at least the white
building back into commercial use,
• it satisfies the original goal at the Town Meeting to move the firehouse and use the
proceeds from a sale of the former firehouse to help defray the costs of the project.

This is an endorsement for the sale and is written with the intent to infer that the other proposal does not do the same things … an outright lie!  Once again we mislead folks with the sale of the old fire house mandate which was not adopted.

I spoke to Michael and I am able to come to the P&Z meeting on October 4th – perhaps the other BaS might join, and possibly Mr. Flint and Mr. Gallogly.
One of the next steps for the BaS is to draft some sort of a Call for a future Town Meeting to discuss this further and vote on one of these proposals. In the meantime, we may reach further into the community to see if the housing groups are interested in leading an effort to convert the property into affordable housing. We have signed a contract with Gallogly, so at least this proposal needs a Town vote- we are committed to sell the property by December 16th, conditional on Town Meeting approval.

Once again he repeats his ‘commitment’ to sell the property.  More interesting is his statement that the sale needs to go to Town Meeting because of the contract, however he seems to conveniently forget that his own board voted to send both proposals to a Town Meeting (kind of like the code of ethics in 2005 … Oops!)

This contract has been developed by the BaS and Town Attorney over the last few weeks.I have attached scanned copies of each proposal and I am also copying the Board of Finance so they have the same background information; the P&Z reference is #15 in the Gallogly/Town contract- perhaps Chuck Andres might be able to clarify the P&Z role in these proceedings.
Thanks to all and have a nice weekend.

Planning and Zoning would discuss this at the October 4, 2011 meeting.

To be continued …

Truth, Part XI–Manipulating Planning and Zoning

doasIsayThe effort to bring the Planning and Zoning Commission into lock step begins with this email to Chairman Klemens:

On Sep 8, 2011, at 2:50PM, Curtis Rand <> wrote:

Hi Michael I am forwarding this email from Town Attorney Tom
Marrion. The Town will be considerin 2 alternative uses of the former
firehouse in Lakeville.
First, a proposalef to purchase it from Frank Gallogly, to use as a private
garage for his car collection. In addition, he would restore the white
building for some sort of commercial use and deed a portion of the lawn
“green” area as a public park.
Second, Mr. Mike Flint is proposing to renovate the building into 3
affordable apartments; his proposal contemplates razing of the white
The BoS is holding a public hearing on these proposals tonight, to be
followed sometime in the next 3-5 weeks by a Town Meeting to vote on
them. We don’t know yet how to write a Resolution for Town Meeting
vote but we hope to bring these to the Town in October.
As you can see, a P &Z hearing on any proposal will be required. I am not
sure how long this would take, or what it would involve, but in the contract
with Frank Gallogly, we are using a closing date of December 16th, sale
conditional on Town meeting approval as well as P&Z.
Is this adequate for the P &Z approval?

There are multiple distortions of the facts in this email, most notably the continued insistence that there must be a P&Z hearing.  Connecticut General Statutes did NOT require P&Z to hold a hearing concerning the sale to Mr. Gallogly.  In fact, as pointed out in our previous post, P&Z was required to ‘report’ on the proposal after a review.  Further, any disapproval by P&Z could be ignored by the Town Meeting.  It was only the contract for sale which required some ‘undefined’ approval by the P&Z.  Let us not forget that the Statute Attorney Marrion sited in this case only applied to the sale of municipal property and in no way applied to the proposal to convert the building into workforce apartments.  This was yet another effort by First Selectman Rand to confuse the issue and eventually get his way.

Mr. Klemens responds to Mr. Rand:

On 9/8/2011 4:45PM, Michael wrote:
Do you intend to bring both options to the P and Z before the Town Meeting … or do
you bring the one selected by the Town meeting … obviously as planners we would like to cOmpare both options … this also reflects the timing of our meeting

Mr. Rand, in response to Mr. Klemens, after the public hearing:

On Sep 9, 2011, at 8:23AM, Curtis Rand <> wrote:

Hi Michael We met last night and there were multiple opinions about these offers.
The BoS will meet soon to decide what are the next steps – in any case we are
committed to the Gallogly offer, so I will forward you everything later today. P&Z
could begin your deliberations soon.
Thanks CR

“… in any case we are committed to the Gallogly offer …”

Could Mr. Rand not be more obvious about his intentions or did I somehow misunderstand this email?

Mr. Klemens to Mr. Rand, the rest of the BOS comrades, the ZEO, and the attorneys (except Schuchat, who was not considered to be in ‘the family’):

Subject:Re: Frank Gallogly offer
Date:Fri, 9 Sep 2011 09:22:46 -0400
From:Michael <>
To:Curtis Rand <>
<>, Jim Dresser <>, Robert Riva
<>, Nancy Brusie <>
Hi Curtis:
I am confused by you last email … having watched with great interest the recent meetings of the AHC I took it at face value that the proposal to convert the fire house to affordable housing units was one of two credible proposals that would be brought to a Town Meeting for the citizens of this Town to decide upon based upon their respective merits.

From your email to me it appears … and I hope that I am wrong … that there is prejudgment on this issue. I personally consider the concept of converting the frrehouse to affordable apartments worthy of serious consideration by the P and Z. I
believe that the current proposal may be too conservative and that one could get six or seven units on the firehouse property by razing the accessory structure and building on the vacant land.

There are many other issues to consider .. the proposed uses of the building and their consistency with the POCD. What you have proposed does not appear to meet those objectives .. and I feel that in order to procede down the course that you have outlined I need to receive input and concurrence from the rest of the Commission. I am only one of five elected commissioners and do not feel I can make
such an important decision without their concurrence.

I have asked Nancy to circulate this email chain to the other Commissioners and Alternates so I can get a better sense of how they wish to procede with your request.

It seems that even Chairman Klemens sensed that there was a ‘prejudgment’ surrounding these proposals.  I guess I was not alone on that one!

Commissioner Dwyer now joins the chain …

On 9/9/2011 11:17 AM, JOHNNYCAKE BOOKS wrote:
Curtis, I, too, am confused by the email. Specifically, what precisely is P&Z being asked to approve and/or amend regulations for? Indeed, I, too, think that use of the firehouse for affordable housing is an alternative that should be given consideration, not only at P&Z but also in a Town meeting or other public venue at which all alternatives are given practical review. DAN

Excellent points!  What is it that P&Z is suppose to do and why?  How about a practical review?

It certainly seems that Mr. Rand has succeeded in creating confusion around this matter.  More apparent are the objections to the process and the appearance of bias concerning one of the proposals.  Remember that public dollars were expended to assist in the drafting of the purchase agreement, while not one public dime or resource was directed at the conversion proposal.  It would not be a stretch to say that orders may have been issued to block any assistance by those associated with town government concerning the conversion proposal.

Mr. Rand would persist in his effort to convince people that regardless of what they may perceive, the moon is actually made from green cheese.

(Please note the email quotes in this post are as they were written.  We have made no alterations, including correcting spelling or other errors.  They are absolutely authentic.)

To be continued …

Truth, Part X–Reality … The Politician/Attorney Version

video-film-reality_-delm_1In early September you will recall that both the fire house conversion and the Gallogly purchase proposal were the subject of a public hearing (9/8/12).  This occurred because the Town is required under Connecticut General Statutes to have a hearing on the sale of municipal property and because the Selectmen had voted to take both proposals to a hearing and then on to a Town Meeting.

Sec. 7-163e. Public hearing on the sale, lease or transfer of real property owned by a municipality. (a) The legislative body of a municipality, or in any municipality where the legislative body is a town meeting or representative town meeting, the board of selectmen, shall conduct a public hearing on the sale, lease or transfer of real property owned by the municipality prior to final approval of such sale, lease or transfer. Notice of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in such municipality where the real property that is the subject of the hearing is located at least twice, at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days or less than ten days and the last not less than two days before the date set for the hearing. The municipality shall also post a sign conspicuously on the real property that is the subject of the public hearing.

The First Selectman (along with his two comrades) wanted desperately to dispense with this discussion and sell the property at a bargain basement price as soon as possible.  Since they had the SAHC in their pocket, it was now becoming imperative to convince the Planning and Zoning Commission to go along with their plan.

This would be a much more complex mission considering that the P&Z Commissioners were not as easily deceived or intimidated into submission as the SAHC Commissioners.

The approach was to con the P&Z into believing they had to render a decision on this matter.  You might recall that the Town Attorney, Thomas Marrion, had eluded to Connecticut General Statute 8-24 in an email of August 9, 2011.

Attorney Marrion writes to First Selectman Curtis Rand and others, concerning the Gallogly sale:

“… this would require a Planning & Zoning hearing under CGS section 8-24 …”

Really?  It must be so since it came from an attorney … yes?

Here is what it says about the role of P&Z:

Sec. 8-24. Municipal improvements. No municipal agency or legislative body shall (1) locate, accept, abandon, widen, narrow or extend any street, bridge, parkway or other public way, (2) locate, relocate, substantially improve, acquire land for, abandon, sell or lease any airport, park, playground, school or other municipally owned property or public building, (3) locate or extend any public housing, development, redevelopment or urban renewal project, or (4) locate or extend public utilities and terminals for water, sewerage, light, power, transit and other purposes, until the proposal to take such action has been referred to the commission for a report. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a municipality may take final action approving an appropriation for any proposal prior to the approval of the proposal by the commission pursuant to this section. The failure of the commission to report within thirty-five days after the date of official submission of the proposal to it for a report shall be taken as approval of the proposal. In the case of the disapproval of the proposal by the commission the reasons therefor shall be recorded and transmitted to the legislative body of the municipality. A proposal disapproved by the commission shall be adopted by the municipality or, in the case of disapproval of a proposal by the commission subsequent to final action by a municipality approving an appropriation for the proposal and the method of financing of such appropriation, such final action shall be effective, only after the subsequent approval of the proposal by (A) a two-thirds vote of the town council where one exists, or a majority vote of those present and voting in an annual or special town meeting, or (B) a two-thirds vote of the representative town meeting or city council or the warden and burgesses, as the case may be. The provisions of this section shall not apply to maintenance or repair of existing property, buildings or public ways, including, but not limited to, resurfacing of roads.

I see nothing about a hearing in this Statute.  It speaks of a report and even goes further to outline how the Town Meeting can override any ‘disapproval’ by the P&Z.

That’s not how our ‘honorable’ leaders were portraying things … according to their version of reality the P&Z was the alpha and the omega …

To be continued …

Truth, Part IX–SAHC Makes it official

thumbsdownArmed with the material they needed (even if they had not looked at it), the puppet chairman and his artful master proceeded with the plan.  The SAHC convened at 5:00 PM (10/3/11) and proceeded to ditch the Fire House conversion plan.  While I was not personally in attendance, here is what the official record says:

The Commission discussed the proposal from Mike Flint for the conversion of the former firehouse into affordable housing. The Board of Selectmen asked the Commission to weigh in with a formal opinion of this project. P. Forood made a motion to approve the following resolution:

The Commission would like to express its appreciation to Mike Flint for his work and enthusiasm about creating affordable housing. After seeking advice from development professionals, two meetings with Mike Flint, and much discussion, it is the sense of this Commission that this proposal for the reuse of the former firehouse for 3 units of affordable housing does not make economic sense.

K. Kiefer seconded and the motion was approved unanimously.

(SAHC meeting minutes, October 3, 2011)

I am amused by this passage since I don’t recall the Selectmen making any formal request of the SAHC, but then again when two thirds of the BOS is on the Commission, why bother with formal or public process?  I might also point out that no one from the Commission contacted me with this decision or their ‘so-called’ appreciation.

Regardless, Mr. Rand and Mr. Dresser now had the ‘thumbs down’ from the SAHC that they required since it would be only 24 hours before the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

Ah yes … P&Z … I suppose I will have to go back to September 8, 2011 for some background on what would happen at this October 4 meeting …

To be continued …

Truth, Part VIII–SAHC, Don’t Confuse me with the Facts!

factsThe puppet Chairman of SAHC received the material specs from Herrington’s on October 3, the very day of the meeting, thereby giving him nor anyone else time to truly review them.

To put it simply, these numbers revealed that, at least, my material estimates were not that far off base.

Herrington’s estimated the material and windows would cost $148,912.56 … I had estimated $120,000.00.

One might say … well see!  However, I would note the following:

Today (3/6/12) I priced a sheet of Birch Plywood C Grade at Herrington’s and Home Depot.

Herrington’s:  $ 61.75 ***** Home Depot:  $ 44.97 ***** Percentage Difference:  27.1%

The difference between my estimate and Herrington’s – 19.4%

Note: When I assembled my numbers, I used the Home Depot website for pricing and added 10%.

Let’s put on our thinking caps.

Furthermore, anyone who has experience in this business would know that packages command discounts (especially in this economy) thereby giving the buyer a distinct advantage.  Surely Herrington’s would have worked with pricing (as would Home Depot) simply because this project was for Workforce Housing, and who would not want that publicity behind their corporate name!

Chairman (?) Riva, Coordinator Ayer, nor anyone on the SAHC had time to analyze this data, further proving my point that the mission was to ‘deep six’ the proposal.

As a reminder:

SAHC Mission: To facilitate and promote the creation of affordable housing in the Town of Salisbury.

To be continued …

Truth, Part VII–Figures Lie and Liars Figure

liar-liar-pants-on-fireThe cost sheet I had presented projected a total cost of $341,401.50 for the conversion.  These numbers were based on full material breakout sheets and many hours of calculations based on my experience in the industry.  While any estimate can be in error and omit items, it is hard to believe I could have been so far off as the two ‘professionals’ concluded.

Mr. Rich at Supportive Housing Works  (SHW) submitted a cost sheet which projected the price to be $923,981.  This is the one done with Quick & Dirty.

Ms. Flanagan at Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development (WIHE)submitted a cost sheet which projected the price to be $913,036.

While I have glared at these two ‘professional’ projections, I have yet to make any real sense out of them.

Here are some differences between the SHW and WIHE proposals:

Item SHW Proposal WIHE Proposal
Acquisition Cost $350,000 $  0
Architect/Engineer/Survey $  35,000 $  15,000
Environmental $  50,000 $  30,000
Market Study $    5,000 $   0
Risk/Liability/Hazard Ins. $    2,000 $  50,000
Legal Counsel $    4,886 $  35,000
Permits $    2,000 $  10,000

I can’t go on any further since this is making me ill.

How can there be such wild variations?

Why does one need a market study and the other doesn’t?

Why does the SHW proposal give a project name of Vine Street in Bridgeport and says it involves 3 two bedroom units?

One is based on $125.00 per square foot while the other is based on $200.00 per square foot.

Print the two proposals … lay them side by side … you tell me.

Obviously no one on the SAHC did this.

To be continued …

Truth, Part VI–SAHC: Quick and Dirty

QDTipsSAHC had little time before the meeting on October 3.  It certainly appears that Chairman (?) Riva and AH Coordinator Ayer had both waited until the last minute to make their inquiries for the verification data they required.  Of course, what would that matter?  The mission was to declare that the plan ‘did not make economic sense’.

As a good friend of mine often says … “Why are you trying to confuse me with the facts?”

The comparison data arrived between September 30 and October 3.  To be blunt, no one had any time to insure that the data was similar to that which I used or if any of the assumptions were remotely accurate.

This did not matter since the data had what they wanted.  It wrapped the acquisition costs and the environmental costs into the proposal, thereby more than doubling that cost.  Appropriately Mr. Rich used software know as Quick and Dirty Housing Feasibility Analyzer.  Indeed it lives up to its name in this case.

Mr. Rich and Ms. Flanagan gave Coordinator Ayer what she needed as you can witness in the following email …

From: David Rich []

Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 3:16 PM

To:; Ellen Flanagan Cc: ‘Jim Dresser’; ‘Bobby Riva’; ‘Bob Blank’

Subject: RE: review cost estimate on conversion of firehouse to affordable housing?

Hi Jocelyn: What I’ve attached is (as the model implies) a “Quick and Dirty” cost estimate. I’ve tried to keep the costs as low as possible. Please only look at the development cost TAB.

What’s NOT included in the citizen proposal you sent me are acquisition and soft costs (I’ve included them). Additionally, if the project requires state and/or federal funding the soft cost will skyrocket. I’d be happy to discuses this with you. Ellen, your thoughts?


Note:  If the proposal includes State or Federal funds the cost will skyrocket?

Subject: FW: review cost estimate on conversion of firehouse to affordable housing? From: Ellen Flanagan

Date: Mon, October 03, 2011 10:05 am

To: “”

Cc: Mollye Wolahan

Jocelyn: Attached is a very preliminary budget for the rehabilitation of the Fire House. The budget includes some associated costs net of architectural fees. I confirmed a substantial rehabilitation $200 square foot cost with a general contractor with extensive experience in the construction of affordable housing. Per the sketches, the square footage for the firehouse is 2,539 which results in a rehabilitation cost of $507,800 (site and building). It is unclear if the site needs remediation. If so, the construction number could increase.


Note:  Very preliminary costs?  An admission that no REAL effort was put into this?

From: []

Sent: Monday, October 03, 2011 11:29 AM

To: Ellen Flanagan; David Rich

Cc: Jim Dresser

Subject: RE: FW: review cost estimate on conversion of firehouse to affordable housing?

Ellen & David-
Thanks so much for your look at these numbers on the firehouse renovation.

So is it safe to say that:
David’s guess-timate (total $923K) includes aquistion costs ($350K) but not the total soft costs that would be associated with a project that required public financing (so it assumes private financing).

Ellen’s guess-timate (total $913K) assumes no acquisition costs but that this is publically financed so the associated soft costs are included?

Is that correct?

Thanks again, Jocelyn

Note:  Guess-timate?  Safe to say?  This email only was copied to Jim Dresser and NOT to Chairman (?) Riva?  We pay this person for her ‘professional’ expertise?

From: David Rich

Subject: RE: FW: review cost estimate on conversion of firehouse to affordable housing?

To:, “‘Ellen Flanagan'”

Cc: “‘Jim Dresser'”

Date: Monday, October 3, 2011, 2:07 PM
Yes, also my hard cost are quite low and would need to go up if there was state and/or federal funding involved,


I wish someone would pay me $40.00 an hour to process this kind of BS.

Tomorrow we take a look at the documents and make the comparisons that no one else did.

To be continued …

Truth, Part V–SAHC Looks for what to say …

THISISresThe puppet Chairman Riva was assigned the task of getting “Herrington’s to review and verify the estimated costs of this project and report back to the SAHC at the next meeting”.  This occurs at the September 12 meeting, the next meeting to convene on October 3.

Time is an important element when reviewing project costs and a window of two weeks is fairly tight for such a matter, not that it is impossible.  One should think that the person who conceived, designed, and estimated the original proposal would be part of these consultations if that was to be any accuracy involved, however this person (myself) was never part of the process.

The window cost estimates from Herrington’s were faxed to Chairman (?) Riva on October 3 and the remaining material cost estimates were finished on October 3 at 3:22 PM.  The meeting was held at 5:00 PM, leaving no time to verify accuracy or study anything in the material estimates.

The Commission’s coordinator was charged (and charged us) with getting the ‘professional opinion’ estimates.  Professional opinion?  What an odd term.  Professional at what?  Opinions?  Are these estimates or are they someone’s opinion?  Is this opinion based on any substance?  Enough!

The coordinator, Ms. Ayer made her first inquiry on September 29 at 8:39 PM.  This request went to Ellen Flanagan, Director of Real Estate Development at the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development and to David B. Rich, Executive Director at Supportive Housing Works.


Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 8:39 PM

Cc: Jim Dresser; Bobby Riva; Bob Blank

Subject: review cost estimate on conversion of firehouse to affordable housing?

Dear Ellen & David- There is a citizen proposal to convert the former firehouse in Salisbury to 3 affordable rental apartments. The Salisbury Affordable Housing Commission has been asked to support this proposal. The SAHC needs to have a better sense of whether the cost estimates proposed are reasonable. Could you take a look at this proposal for us quickly and let us know whether you think these estimates are reasonable or not (in your experience with the per unit cost of renovating an historic building into 3 rental units).

The proposal can be viewed here:

The cost estimate can be viewed here:

We already know this cost estimate does not include environmental testing/clean-up (for converting a garage into a residential use)…Let us know what you think about the estimate. Any chance you could look at this by Monday noon?

our next SAHC meeting is Monday at 5pm and we need to be able to say something about this proposal.

Best, Jocelyn

We need to be able to say something?  Just when I thought you received your scripts from ….

To be continued …

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